Friday, May 17, 2019

Seventeen Years of an Ordinary, Lovely Life




This morning, like every morning, he rises and starts getting the little kids ready for the day.  He picks out their clothes, helps them get dressed, makes their lunches, finds their shoes and then starts to work on himself.  I get myself ready, prepare our lunches to take to work, and gather the elementary school kids in my car.  He grabs the baby and the highschooler, drops off the baby and stops on the way to buy us coffee because we keep forgetting to add it to the grocery list.

He brings my coffee to my office, then meets me in the chapel for morning Mass.  He holds my hand during the homily and lets me go in front of him to receive the Eucharist.  He opens any door that gets in my way, and walks by my office during the day with a smile that still makes me weak in the knees.  We eat lunch together with our coworkers as we go over the schedule of the day.

He works security after school to provide a little extra for our family as I go pick up the kids.  We meet back at home and cook dinner before we take turns working out.  He needs no direction to take care of the kids no matter what time I'm away from the house.  We ebb and flow to the rhythm of family life, and as busy and difficult as it can be sometimes, it's never that bad with him as my partner.

He spends his evening helping the teens with their technology issues, changes the baby's diaper, works on reading skills with the preschooler, and reminds the rest to pick up after themselves because their mother is not their maid.

He tells me he'll bring the littles up to bed so I can work on the to-do list.  He comes back down and washes the dishes.  Later on, we walk the dog together and talk about all the details of the day that we don't want the other to have missed.  We get ready for bed and he brings me some water and vitamins.  He asks me what I want to watch as I predictably start to fall asleep and we say Good night, I love you.  He makes sure the kids are all in bed, takes the dog out one more time, checks that the doors are locked, and then he falls asleep while rubbing my back.

It's just a ordinary day in my life with an extraordinary man I thank God for everyday...but most especially on our anniversary. 

Happy 17 years, Phil, you're still the one. 


"You are the finest, loveliest, tenderest, and most beautiful person that I have ever known - and even that is an understatement."

~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The First Holy Communion of the Fifth Child

Our handsome and wild Alexander Blaise made his First Holy Communion!



It was such a special day that he needed both hair gel (the barber told me how to buy it cheap and it smells very manly!) and hair spray.  Declan insisted hair spray was just for ladies, but Xander informed him he didn't know anything about hair yet since he's only five.  Obviously.

Friday, May 3, 2019

7 Thankful Quick Takes

It's Friday and I've had a crazy two weeks but I'm so Thankful!!  Here's why...

1)

I appealed my speeding ticket from last month and I won!  The magistrate and the police officer were so nice, and took one look at my "pristine driving record" and where I was ticketed (going over a bridge between two towns) and just removed it from my record.  The officer said 80% of the appeals he sees are from people receiving tickets in that same spot.  I was so nervous to go to the courthouse, and I totally had envisioned a real court room tv scenario where I might have to use my feminine wiles, but it was nothing like that. 


 Glad I had the courage to go and keep my clean driving record!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Spring Break 2019: Cracker Barrel, Coco Key, Chick-fil-A, Campfire, and Cousins!

This year's Spring Break fell during Holy Week which is always a bumdiddlybummer.  I mean how are we supposed to be on vacation mode and Holy Week mode simultaneously?  We decided to do some fun things in the beginning of the week and then become a little more somber for the Triduum. 

First up!  Breakfast at Cracker Barrel!  We always remind the kids, on our rare restaurant meals, to order water, order from the kids meal if they're under the age limit, and only order what they can actually finish.  Sometimes those eyes are bigger than their stomachs!  Even with all our restaurant rules, the bill is still huge...so you can imagine our surprise when the waitress told us at the end of our meal that someone had paid for us!!!  Of course, I couldn't help but tear up with gratitude and then we let the kids each pick a few treats from the gift shop.  God is good! 

JP's face :)

Friday, April 26, 2019

Happy Easter from the Color Coordinated Martins

Happy Easter SEASON everybody!  I'm so thankful it's not just a day because life has been go-go-go lately and I feel like Easter didn't get as much attention as it deserved.  We went with a blue and yellow and gray color scheme this year, mostly because the elementary school boys wear gray pants with their uniform and I didn't have to buy any!


I look about 5 months pregnant in these pictures and I'm not...soooo the diet will begin.....eventually!  Ugh, it's tough to turn 40, I feel like I'm gaining weight so easily lately, even with all the exercise I do.  I know abs begin in the kitchen and blah blah blah I love food too much.  OK, enough vanity, back to the big day!


For the first time as a family, we attended the Easter Vigil and survived!  We just *had* to go to the Vigil this year because my brother-in-law became Catholic!  We always said he was the most Catholic non-Catholic we knew (attending Mass religiously, going to Adoration, raising his kids in the faith, sending his kids to Catholic school - he has one in elementary, high school and FUS) but it just took God's timing to get him into the church.  We were so excited!!  My Andrew was especially so, because he's been telling us for years that he wanted Uncle Adam to be his Confirmation sponsor, but couldn't ask him since he wasn't Catholic.  Now he can (already did, actually!) and his Confirmation is next year.  See, God's timing was perfect as usual!


Look at those smiles on my sister and her newly Catholic husband.  The Vigil started at 7:30 pm and ended at 9:30 pm, so we went home and put the kids to bed and all slept in a little the next morning.  By slept in, I mean 7 am instead of 6 am, so yeah, not much!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A List of Lessons from A Mom of Seven

If I was a beautiful young mom, stopping by this blog to gather some wisdom/warnings/stories from a tired seasoned older mom, what would I want to know?  
What could I tell you about having a big family that may or may not someday be in your future?  
Let me gather my thoughts...


Momma said they'd be days like this, they'd be days like this, momma said.

Don't sweat the small stuff, keep your eyes on the prize.  
Your toddler won't eat veggies today?  Give him extra fruit and try again tomorrow.  I once heard a nutritionist say that you should view healthy eating in week-long increments.  So, over the course of a week, did I get enough protein, veggies, fruits, dairy, whole grains, etc.  
Your stubborn three year old won't poop in the potty?  She will one day.  Until then, just give lots of chances, and I've been known to use a suppository once in their life to get things moving.  The next time, I just mention the "medicine" and they don't want it, and everything moves better on it's own :)  
Your teen gets a bad grade on a quiz?  Tell your inner geek to relax.  It's one tiny quiz in the grand scheme of things.  
Your middle schooler is fighting with her friends?  Time heals all wounds.  She'll be ok, learn from it, grow from it, and so will you.  

Every stage has a season, and like a season, this too shall pass.

We swear by good sleep routines.  Kids go to bed early, wake early, nap early.  Kids who sleep well are well-behaved, smarter and better looking (just kidding about that last part!)

When a child is crying...
Hug them
Listen to them
Feed them
Make them do something active
Distract them
Go outside for some Vitamin D
Put them to bed

Learn your kid's love language and personality type/temperment.  They may all be your kids, but they are all so different!

Having only little ones is soooooo hard.  It's draining and you're on duty every minute that they are awake.  They are loud and whiny and noisy (did I already say that?) but so much fun!  What would we do without them?  Boring.  Try to plan nap times and me time so you don't get a bit blue by the fact that EVERYBODY NEEDS SOMETHING FROM YOU ALL THE TIME.  Ahem.

It gets easier.
(It does, I promise!)

Train them young.  If you want fully-functioning adult children someday, then start now.  Chores should be expected in family life, if they've always done them, they won't think it's strange.  Having big kids (like elementary school aged kids) is super helpful to a mom with littles.  But!  Don't rely on them too much - they are not the parents and deserve a childhood too.  We basically expect our big ones to help out with small household chores and occasionally babysit when they get old enough.  Mostly they are just great for playing with each other, a skill I lack.  

Keep the house tidy.  I know they say dishes can wait, blah blah, but everyone's happier in a tidy clean house.

When Teenagers are Moody:
(See above list for crying children.)

Don't feel like you have to make grand plans to get individual time with each child.  Some of our best talks happen in the car, or grocery shopping, or taking the dog for a walk.  Treats and vacations are wonderful, but kids need our love and attention more.  That being said, making a favorite meal or buying a favorite snack for a certain someone goes a long way.  You have to buy food and cook anyway, but that extra thoughtful step can really brighten someone's day.

Let little kids be little.  Keep their innocence for as long as you can, there will plenty of years for them to do big kid activities, but they will never be this age again.  

Let big kids be big.  Don't hold them back because you're not ready to let go a bit.  Give them some freedom and let them discover how much they still need you :)

Raise your family with faith and humor.  Be joyful in your vocation and your kids will be happy in theirs.

Remember to celebrate every milestone as if it's the first child.  Sometimes you gotta fake it until you make it, but when the 6th kid graduates 8th grade, it's just as exciting for him as when the first kid graduated.  It's old hat to you, but look at it with fresh eyes from their perspective.

Don't get a pet "for the kids".  Get a pet if YOU want a pet.  Learned this one the hard way :)

Praise them often.  Instill confidence and courage.  Celebrate not only their accomplishments, but also their work ethic to get there.  Telling a kid they worked really hard is a better life lesson than telling them they are so smart.  Make sure they know what's important in life - manners, kindness, faith, love, family - getting into Heaven is the goal, not getting into college.  

Raise kids to be the kind of adults you want to hang out with.

Know that the longer I mother my children, the more I realize what I don't know.  I was honestly the perfect mom before I had children, ha!  I really shouldn't be giving advice at all!  So trust your gut and know that God created YOU to be the parent of YOUR kids and He doesn't make mistakes.  You got this :)